Natural Foods Merchandiser

PowerBar Founder Brian Maxwell, 1953-2004

Brian Maxwell, founder of PowerBar Inc., died of a heart attack in San Anselmo, Calif., on March 19. He was 51.

Maxwell was born in London and raised in Toronto. In 1975, he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied architecture and ran track.

In 1977, Maxwell was ranked the No. 3 marathon runner in the world by Track & Field News and went on to become the No. 1 marathoner for the Canadian Olympic team that boycotted the 1980 Moscow games.

Maxwell conceived of the idea of an endurance-boosting bar for athletes after ?bonking? (what runners call the point at which the body runs out of carbohydrates and starts burning muscle) in a 1983 race. Three years later, he and his wife, Jennifer, a nutritionist, created one of the country?s first energy bars in their Berkeley kitchen.

The Maxwells started handing out the original chocolate and malt nut PowerBars at races, with coupons on how to mail-order the bars.

?Brian was completely dedicated to athletes performing at their best,? said Tanya Clark, PowerBar?s sports marketing manager. ?PowerBar was one of the first companies to reach out to the up-and-coming grassroots athlete.?

PowerBar grew to $150 million in sales and 300 employees before Maxwell sold the company to Nestle S.A. for a reported $375 million in March 2000.

After the sale, Maxwell focused on other entrepreneurial ventures and remained active in numerous charitable, educational, athletic and arts organizations.

He is survived by his wife and six children.

Donations can be made in Maxwell?s memory to Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, University of California, Berkeley, 2223 Fulton St., Box 4424, Berkeley, CA 94720-4424.

(For more on the bar category, see ?Too Many Bars, Too Little Space.?)

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 5/p. 12

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